Once upon a time, a workbench lived in my father’s woodworking shop. It was an ordinary bench, extraordinary only because of the projects built on its surface. I’ve lost count of the number of things Dad made, but his grandchildren will never forget building their own little projects with Grandpa’s guidance. At first they built small boats to sail on the river running behind Grandpa and Grandma’s property. Then they graduated to wooden mallets, and small baseball bats, turned on the lathe. Always, there were small pieces of wood available to them — cutoffs from other projects — and a box of used nails they could help themselves to.
When many of the grandchildren were almost grown up, my parents decided to move. Condo living would free them from caring for their country property, but it would also mean the end of Grandpa’s shop. Tears were shed, but the downsizing happened and that meant much of what wouldn’t fit into their new home went to their family.
On Choosing Day, out of all the available “good stuff”, what did my son want to have? He chose Grandpa’s workbench and the box of old nails. His wife smiled and gave her approval. At first the work bench was used as a breakfast bar of sorts at the side of their kitchen, but when they moved to the States that workbench came to our house for storage.
The years passed, and Virginia became Scott and Sarah’s home, but that Canadian workbench was never far from their minds. Their much smaller kitchen wouldn’t accommodate it as it was, but a new idea gradually formed. In talking with my husband, himself a skilled carpenter, they decided to make the workbench into a table. Phone calls, pictures, and FaceTime-ing followed, and the results were nothing less than gorgeous.
One fine May morning last year, the taken-apart table was carefully stowed in a trailer and we set off to deliver it to its new home.
Scott and Sarah entertain often, just like Grandpa and Grandma always did. Their main wish in converting the workbench was to have each of their guests sign the table after sharing a meal in their home. My husband made a mechanism, attached beneath the table, that raises the glass to allow for signatures.
Their son’s autograph went on right away, but Grandma and Grandpa’s were already there. They had come to our workshop to see the finished product and Grandpa heartily approved
I like that this old workbench has stayed in the family. I like even more that it remains a symbol of my parents’ generous hospitality over the years. I love sitting at this old/new table whenever we visit …
… and I super-love that Nolan and I can have fun right beside it!